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Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    CHINESE    PEOPLE                    2$

people in inventing gunpowder and finding its best use in
making firecrackers for their grandfathers' birthdays is merely
symbolical of their inventiveness along merely pacific lines.
The preference for daintiness over power in art has a physical
basis in man's lessened vitality and mellowed instincts, and
the preference for reasonableness over aggressiveness in philo-
sophy may be actually traceable to the rounded chin and the
amorphous face.

So also have the contempt for physical prowess and sports
and the general dislike of the strenuous life intimately to do
with man's decreased bodily energy, especially in the city-
living bourgeois class. This is easily observable in a street car
crowd or a faculty meeting, where Europeans and Chinese
are placed in a row side by side. Unhygienic forms of living
and the general overeating on the part of the bourgeois
Chinese account, in many cases, for the drooping-shoulders
and the listless eye. The constitutional differences between
European and Chinese children at school age are unmistakable.
On the athletic field, it is invariably found that boys who have
a European father or mother distinguish themselves by their
greater swiftness, agility and general exuberance of energy,
while they seldom excel in tests of endurance and never in
scholastic attainments. The much vaunted bossing of the
Hankow Nationalist Government in 1927 by a man called
Borodin is due to the simple fact that the energetic Russian, who
is taking merely a second-rate place at home, did three times
the work of a Chinese official, and could talk the Chinese
leaders to sleep until the latter had to give in in order to be let
alone.

Many Europeans in Shanghai wonder why they are dropped
by their Chinese friends without realizing the simple reason
that the latter are not able to stand the strain of a long and
exciting conversation, especially when it is in a foreign language.
Many a Sino-European partnership, matrimonial or commercial,
has been wrecked on the European's impatience with Chinese
stodgy smugness and the Chinaman's impatience with the
European's inability to keep still. The way in which American
jazz-band conductors shake their knees and European passen-
gers pace a steamship deck is, to the Chinese> highly ridiculous*